Gordon Getty

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gordon Getty
Gordon Peter Getty

(1933-12-20) December 20, 1933 (age 89)
Alma materUniversity of San Francisco
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Occupation(s)Businessman, composer
(m. 1964; died 2020)
PartnerCynthia Beck
Children7, including Andrew
Parent(s)J. Paul Getty
Ann Rork Light

Gordon Peter Getty (born December 20, 1933) is an American businessman and classical music composer, the fourth child of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. His mother, Ann Rork, was his father's fourth wife.[1] When his father died in 1976, Gordon assumed control of Getty's US$2 billion trust. His net worth was $2.1 billion in September 2020, making him number 391 on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans.[2]

Early life[edit]

Getty was raised in San Francisco, California, where he attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory and the University of San Francisco. He would also earn a B.A. in music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.[3]


He joined the oil business to please his father; however, he eventually sold the family's Getty Oil to Texaco in 1986 for US$10 billion. In 1983, Forbes magazine ranked him the richest person in America with a net worth of a little over $2 billion.[citation needed] His net worth was cited as $2.1 billion in 2020, making him the 391st richest person in the United States.[4]

In 2002, Getty founded ReFlow, a company which temporarily purchases shares in mutual funds to save funds taxes and commissions.[3][5]

Classical music[edit]

Among several professions, Getty is a classical music composer whose compositions include the opera Plump Jack, Joan and the Bells, piano pieces, and a collection of choral works. His one-act opera Usher House was performed by the San Francisco Opera in 2015. Aspiring to become an opera singer, Getty studied in the mid-1970s with Louise Caselotti, a mezzo-soprano who had been Maria Callas' voice teacher (1946–47). He and his wife have supported the fine arts, especially underwriting productions of the San Francisco Opera and the Russian National Orchestra.[6][full citation needed]

Getty's opera The Canterville Ghost was premiered on May 9, 2015, at the Leipzig Opera.

Personal life[edit]

On Christmas Day, 1964, he married Ann Gilbert (1941–2020) in Las Vegas, Nevada.[7][8]

Gordon and Ann Getty live in a grand yellow Italianate mansion in Pacific Heights, with sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Over the years, he and Ann, a publisher and a decorator, expanded their living space, buying the house next door (to make room for his work at the piano) and then the house next door to that. They hosted charity events, opera stars, and fundraisers for politicians, including Kamala Harris and Gavin Newsom. (Newsom's father, William, one of Gordon's friends since high school, managed the family trust for years.)[9]

On April 1, 2015, it was reported that Getty's son Andrew Rork Getty died at his home in Hollywood Hills, suffering, the Los Angeles County coroner's office found, from methamphetamine intoxication, heart disease, and bleeding linked to an ulcer. His $200 million share of the family trust was redistributed among his siblings.[10]

Getty's assets are managed by Vallejo Investments. Vallejo Investments is a so-called "family office", an in-house financial team of specialized attorneys, accountants and money managers. It is estimated that there are some ten thousand such companies worldwide, controlling assets worth approximately six trillion dollars as of 2023.[11]

Three of Getty's seven children were with Getty's then-mistress Cynthia Beck.[12] Two of Getty's daughters, Sarah and Kendalle, are suing a former financial advisor, Marlena Sonn, for "unjust enrichment." In a countersuit, Sonn accused the Gettys and their advisors of retaliating for her opposition to a "dubious tax avoidance scheme" that could save them as much as $300 million.[13]

In popular culture[edit]

Gordon Getty's life as a composer was chronicled in Peter Rosen's documentary Gordon Getty: There Will be Music which premiered on February 5, 2016, at Cinema Village in New York City [14] and has been broadcast on PBS in the U.S. and Europe on ARTE, and also appeared in film festivals, and programs across the country.[15]

Honors and awards[edit]

List of works[edit]

Cantata and opera

Chamber works

  • Traditional Pieces

Choral works

  • Annabel Lee
  • Ballet Russe
  • Beauty Come Dancing
  • La Belle Dame sans Merci
  • For a Dead Lady
  • The Little Match Girl
  • The Old Man in the Night
  • A Prayer for My Daughter
  • There Was A Naughty Boy
  • Those Who Love
  • Three Christmas Carols
  • Victorian Scenes
  • Young America

Orchestral works

  • Ancestor Suite
  • Homework Suite
  • Overture to Plump Jack
  • Traditional Pieces

Piano works

  • Ancestor Suite
  • Andantino
  • First Adventure
  • Homework Suite
  • Scherzo Pensieroso
  • Traditional Pieces


  • Four Dickinson Songs
  • Hostess's Aria
  • No My Good Lord
  • Poor Peter
  • A Prayer for My Daughter
  • Where is My Lady
  • The White Election



  1. ^ Byrne, Peter (April 2, 2003). "Bringing Up Baby Gavin". SF Weekly. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  2. ^ "Gordon Getty". Forbes. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "#407 Gordon Getty". Forbes. August 3, 2007. Retrieved November 20, 2008.
  4. ^ "Forbes 400 - The Definitive Ranking Of The Wealthiest Americans In 2020". www.forbes.com. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  5. ^ Hibbard, Justin (October 10, 2005). "How Gordon Getty Got To 'Aha!'". Business Week. Archived from the original on May 19, 2009.
  6. ^ San Francisco Chronicle
  7. ^ Roberts, Sam (September 19, 2020). "Ann Getty, 79, a Publisher and a Bicoastal Arts Patron". New York Times. Vol. 170, no. 58821. p. B12. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  8. ^ Times, Los Angeles (August 31, 1999). "Gordon Getty's second family was an open secret". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Osnos, Evan (January 16, 2023). "The Getty Family's Trust Issues". The New Yorker.
  10. ^ Osnos, Evan (January 16, 2023). "The Getty Family's Trust Issues". The New Yorker.
  11. ^ Osnos, Evan (January 16, 2023). "The Getty Family's Trust Issues". The New Yorker.
  12. ^ Allen, Nick (May 10, 2019). "Partner of Getty heir's former lover arrested over huge gun cache in Beverley Hills mansion". The Telegraph.
  13. ^ Osnos, Evan (January 16, 2023). "The Getty Family's Trust Issues". The New Yorker.
  14. ^ "How Music Helped Gordon Getty Escape His Family's Famous Curse". February 9, 2016.
  15. ^ "Gordon Getty: There Will Be Music". Facebook.
  16. ^ a b "Gordon Getty Biography – InstantEncore". www.instantencore.com. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  17. ^ atemkar (October 5, 2015). "Gordon Getty, Composer and Philanthropist, Named USF Alumnus of the Year". University of San Francisco. Retrieved April 4, 2016.

External links[edit]